Next PM ‘must back HS2’- business leaders

Some of the nation’s most prominent business organisations have co-authored an open letter calling on the next Prime Minister to publicly commit to completing HS2 in its entirety.

Alstom's design for the new HS2 trains

The groups are urging the next Prime Minister to offer “unwavering support” to the project, saying it offers a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive regional economic growth and rebalance the economy”.

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The letter has been signed by more than 20 business leaders, including the CBI, Institute for Directors, Federation of Small Business, Chambers of Commerce, London First and Business Improvement Districts. The signatories represent hundreds of large and small businesses, employing tens of thousands of people across the North.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has issued mixed messages on HS2.

An extract seen by The Yorkshire Post reads “We must unite to deliver HS2 in full, and we urge you to join us by offering your vocal and unwavering support. Help make HS2 happen for everyone, and help us all achieve our full potential.

“To our next potential Prime Minister we say – back it, build it, benefit from it.”

The groups argue that committing to HS2 in full, once and for all, will spread the flow of investment across the Midlands, the North of England and into Scotland. The current poor connectivity in the North is a major obstacle to encouraging companies from growing in the region and is a barrier to inward investment

The letter has been released to coincide with the five year anniversary of the Northern Powerhouse first being launched and comes as Tory frontrunner Boris Johnson appeared to be rowing back on support for the scheme.

Beckie Hart

CBI Regional Director Beckie Hart said: “HS2 is more than just a railway line, it’s a key that unlocks future jobs, training and regeneration opportunities that will benefit us all.

“Its construction is key to the success of future infrastructure projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Rail Hub that will boost productivity and help rebalance our nation. Our message to the next Prime Minister is clear - help make HS2 happen for everyone, and help our region achieve our full potential.”